Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What is CPS?

I thought as I publish the second letter, I would write a bit about CPS camps. I grew up hearing about CPS and whenever we traveled there seemed to be one of Dad's CPS buddies in every town. However a lot of people do not know anything about CPS (Civilian Public Service) camps. As World War II began the selective service act of 1940 allowed for Conscientious objectors to war but only 'Religious objectors' . The Conscientious Objectors had some choices, they could serve as noncombatants in the military, or serve time in CPS camps doing 'work of national importance' or for some both of these seemed like too much cooperation with the war and they did time in prison. Others such as my Uncle on my Mom's side of the family did not qualify as a religious objector and was sent to prison.
The CPS camps were under the US government but the 3 traditional peace churches, Friends, Brethern and Mennonite were given financial and administrative responsibility. During World War II there were 52,000 government classified CO's. Close to 12,000 of these served in 151 CPS camps.
My father's background was as a member of a Friends (Quaker) Church in Iowa. He applied for and received CO status after appealing the first decision of the draft board. As he entered CPS and as this letter shows, he was a bible based Christian.
Others mentioned in this letter are his brothers Charles and Harry and his sisters Eileen(Toots) and Evelyn. Dad was the oldest of the five and was 24 in 1942.


1 comment:

  1. I meant to credit The Power of The People by Cooney and Michalowski for the info in this post.